At age 99, Yuri Averbakh has spent the better part of of his life checkmating opponents but off the board, it appears that he used his famous chess stubbornness to checkmate COVID. Multiple sources have confirmed that the world’s oldest chess grandmaster has been released from a Moscow hospital to continue recovering from Covid-19 at home.
Yuri Averbakh was born on February 8, 1922 in Kaluga. Averbakh’s father was of German Jewish heritage and his mother was Russian and an Eastern Orthodox Christian which made Yuri an especially rare blend of religions and nationalities for the time period.
Yuri Averbakh’s first major tournament success didn’t come until the age of 27 when he took first place at the 1949 Moscow Chess Championship. Three years later, Averbakh earned the Grandmaster title. His greatest tournament triumph came in 1954 when Yuri won the USSR Chess Championship.
Perhaps Averbakh’s greatest contribution to chess is as a writer and endgame theorist. His many books on endgame theory are among the best ever written and his chess autobiography “Averbakh’s Selected Games” is a testament to his skill as a writer and a chess master.
As a chess player, Yuri Averbakh has always employed an ultra solid style that almost always blunts the attacks of more aggressive players. While not known as a swashbuckling chess player, Yuri is certainly capable of launching devastating attacks when the conditions are correct as seen in his 1947 victory over Vladimir Zak:
We at Daily Chess Musings wish Yuri Averbakh the best in his recovery and look forward to celebrating his 100th birthday with our chess community on February 8, 2022.